Future of Cammalleri, pending UFA's in flux

Wednesday, 16.04.2014 / 7:44 AM
Aaron Vickers  - CalgaryFlames.com (@aavickers)

CALGARY, AB -- Mike Cammalleri doesn’t have a crystal ball in his back pocket or a fortune-teller on speed dial.

He doesn't keep a set of keys that will fire up a DeLorean DMC-12 nor does he have a friend named Doc, either.

No, the 31-year-old pending unrestricted free agent can’t tell you what his future holds.

“I don’t have anything to report,” Cammalleri said following exit meetings with the Calgary Flames coaching staff early Monday morning. “I talked to (president of hockey operations) Brian (Burke) and Brian said we’d talk again about that sort of thing; today is the day to address the season. That’s really where we’re at. Nothing has changed.”

Cammalleri led the Flames with 26 goals this season, four more than 19-year-old rookie Sean Monahan. His 45 points were edged out by Mark Giordano’s 47 and Jiri Hudler’s team-high of 54.

Whether or not Cammalleri sees the light of free agency on July 1st has yet to be determined, he’ll tell you.

“I don’t have the answer to that,” he said. “I’d still like to talk to Calgary and see where things are at moving forward a little bit. I really don’t know how I feel about that.

“I am far from having ruled Calgary out as my future. It’s really, at this point, all there is to say about that as far as the organization’s gone and I think they have had the same approach with me.”

Cammalleri isn’t alone on the free agent front.

He’s joined by the likes of forward Kevin Westgarth, defenceman Chris Butler and goaltender Joey MacDonald on the unrestricted front.

Burke had little designs on entertaining discussion of their statuses in what shapes up as the last day the group will assemble at Scotiabank Saddledome this season.

“We had our player meetings today and we told the players involved that this was not the day to address their contract situation, it’s a team day,” Burke said. “We have a team dinner tonight where we say thank you to the players and send them on their way, but that I would address their situations in short order. We’ll address those guys in the near future.”

It didn’t stop Butler from pondering, though.

The 27-year-old is slated to hit unrestricted free agency for the first time come the first of July.

“It’s a unique opportunity, being unrestricted and having control of your destiny and being able to choose, potentially, where you want to go,” Butler said. “It’s not an opportunity not everyone gets and it is something you earn and your work for. It’s something I’ll think about but it’s still a few months away.

“It’s kind of hard to think about right now after just playing (Sunday) and wearing that jersey for the last three years. It’s not unsettling but it’s a little unnerving and a little intriguing and something that’s kind of in the back of your mind.”

Butler has 194 games under his belt in Calgary, including skating a shift in all 82 on the docket for the Flames this season.

The temptation to test the waters is out there for the St. Louis, MO native, but so too is the desire to remain a Flame.

“I’d love to be back here,” Butler said. “This team is the most fun team I’ve played on since I’ve been here. We had teams that were probably better and had a little more success, but this is an awesome group of guys and you see some of the guys that are up and coming. The guys they’ve signed, it’s going in the right direction and it would be fun to be a part of it.”

But, as Burke said, now isn’t the time to discuss contracts, leaving Westgarth et al waiting.

“I think everything’s a little in flux right now,” Westgarth said. “I think we’ll be in touch and hopefully we can figure something out. I love playing here. It’s been a great opportunity. I feel like I can help the Flames out a lot.”

Only time with tell if the likes of Westgarth, Butler and Cammalleri will next season.

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